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BILLINGS - Beartooth Highway is expected to open to Vista Point on Friday, despite about a foot of snow that fell in the last few days.

The scenic highway between Red Lodge and Cooke City closed more than a week ago after an avalanche damaged 500 feet of guardrail and blocked the road with debris. The slide was the area's second in 10 days.

Guardrail repairs were completed Thursday and the avalanche area was clear, said Jim Lynch, director of the Montana Department of Transportation. But crews were still busy clearing the new snow.

The highway will probably be open only to Vista Point, a popular turnout about halfway up the mountain. Work to clear the rest of the way to the Montana-Wyoming border will continue over the weekend, and crews on the Wyoming side are clearing snow on the rest of the pass.

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The first avalanche occurred May 27 and stranded a vacationing family for several hours. The second slide happened overnight on June 1. Both avalanches were near mile marker 51, the site of two avalanche chutes.

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